Buuuuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! That’s the typical overwhelming and deafening sound that greets you as you find your way into any of the venues of the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Like swarm of bees buzzing away in the bright afternoon sunshine of Africa, the 2013 African Cup of Nations was one of its several kinds. From Soccer City, Johannesburg to Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg to Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit to Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban to Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, the story of how overwhelming the sound coming from the vuvuzela was all the same like a trademark that came to stay.
Africa’s biggest sporting event returned to South Africa for the first time since 1996 and it returned with a bang that has never been witnessed before. Also, it was the first time the new time format came into play, so it is now the same year as the Confederations Cup which will be holding later this year in Brazil.
The continent’s biggest soccer tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations has come and gone but we are still reminiscing about those points that brought the screams and the thrills, and on the other hand, not forgetting the moments of tears, hugs and smiles. The host nation, South Africa, did a good job as a good host of AFCON 2013 and the fiesta was widely a success. While old stars in their twilight faded away – fresh, promising and brightly shining stars were born, a new champion and king of African football emerged and the theme song of the tournament titled, “Top of the world” by the famous Nigerian hip-hop artist Dbanj, endeared Africa to the heart of the rest of the footballing world while the competition lasted.
Eager fans were treated to a slow start of the competition as the first two games failed to bring in any goal and both games ended in a goalless deadlock. It was Ghana who added the first spice to the tournament by scoring the first goal.
One of the unexpected features that happened during the tournament is the crashing out of The Chipolopolo of Zambia at the group stage of the soccer event. Zambia took the African stage by storm in the last tournament as underdogs who came out as lions devouring hitherto mighty teams to clinch the coveted trophy. It was an emotional sight, seeing the Zambian players cry like babies after failing to win their last match in the group stages in which they were yoked with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
Another notable point is when the host nation, Bafana Bafana of South Africa, crashed out of the tournament in the quarter final, after losing to the Carthage Eagles of Mali on penalties.
Also, one of the underdogs of the tournament, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, were a sight to behold against favourites Ivory Coast as they defeated The Elephants 2-1 to go onto the semi-final. Though they started in a slow and unpromising note, the Super Eagles later found their grit and rhythm as they progressed in the tournament. A magnificent and merciless attacking display helped Nigeria over the Carthage Eagles of Mali, 4 goals to 1, in the semi-final and set a date for the prolific team against Burkina Faso in the final.
In the final, fans’ hopes were not dashed as they were treated to a superlative and scintillating match between Nigeria and Burkina Faso who were playing in their first final ever. It was a lone goal from Nigeria’s Sunday Mba that separated the boys from the men. This is the third time Nigeria is lifting the trophy, one they last won 19 years ago; after going home as bronze medallists several times. Steven Keshi, coach of the Super Eagles, becomes only the second man to have won the competition as player and coach. In the end, a new Nigerian Eagles flew over the rest of Africa and were crowned new Kings of African football.
CAF team of the tournament:
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria).
Bakary Koné (Burkina Faso), Nando Maria(Cape Verde Islands), Efe Ambrose (Nigeria), Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso).
Wakaso Mubarak (Ghana), Seydou Keita (Mali), John Obi Mikel (Nigeria).
Victor Moses (Nigeria), Asamoah Gyan (Ghana), Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria).
The 2013 African Cup of Nations have come and gone but its sights, sounds and thrills still linger on in our memory as though fresh, even as we look forward to the next AFCON 2015 in Morocco.
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